As part of a Radio interview in the mid-eighties, Ken Stewart of RTE Radio One asked me a question about the greatest gifts I had received from my parents, and I said that I thought they were the gift of music, and a sense of curiosity about it's roots and origins. This was particularly true when I was introduced to Bluegrass and Country Music, by Fran O'Donnell of Harold's Cross, around the time of my 11th birthday. Combined with the gift of a Harmony Acoustic Guitar from my Parents, and an overdose of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family and the wonderful Bill Monroe, I was hooked. I was determined to spend most of my spare time learning about this particular genre, as a player, singer, song-writer, musician, band leader and radio presenter.
Over the years, I have played with, and learned from so many fine musicians in so many combinations, it's hard to decipher where the learning/teaching process begins or leaves off. One result is that I am humbled and honoured to be the recipient of so many accolades. It's the kind of thing that simply sneaks up on you and I'm very appreciative of the support you have shown me for sticking to my [ Musical ] guns. It's certainly not the fastest, or easiest, way to get rich and famous, but it is a musical life that I find to be both fascinating, interesting and satisfying, and challenging.
My very first Album was released in 1973 on Thrust Records, and included one of my first Mandolin originals, Terenure Stomp. That was followed by There's a Better Way in 2001, Mood Swing in 2005 and NTB 3 in 2008, all on Avalon Records. In 2012, Onwards and Upwards was released on North Carolina's Pinecastle Records. Then, in 2015,, I recorded my 5th all-original Album, Working On Love, which got great reviews in the Press, and also garnered substantial air-play on RTE Radio One. This Album is available from iTunes, Amazon.com, and, as they say, all good Record Stores, including Claddadh Records in Temple Bar, in Dublin.
Now, in 2019, I am getting around to releasing my 6th all-original Album, tentatively titled BETWEEN THE STONE FOX AND THE CULM CRUSHER. [ Figure that one out ! ] This time 'round, I am concentrating on local Stories and Historical events from the area roughly bound by the source of the River Burren, near Myshall, in the Blackstairs Mountains, to the spot where it joins the great River Barrow, near Carlow Town. Most, if not all, the new Songs and Tunes are co-writes with my Bandmates, Dick Gladney, Johnny Gleeson, Paddy Kiernan, Richie Foley and Keith Sewell, and are recorded between Orchard Studios in Enniscorthy and the Toolshed Studios in Nashville, TN.
Thanks for your continuing support, and I hope we can meet at one of my live shows in 2019/2020.
Toner writes Bluegrass and Country songs that ring true, and would not be out of place on any Bluegrass Master's Albums. This Irishman knows his stuff. 5 Star Review.
I admire the way Niall's deep affinity for Bluegrass and American Country Music blends seamlessly
with his Irish sensibilities. It makes him a uniquely appealing Artist, and Pinecastle Records are
lucky to have him.
Pete Wernick - Doctor Banjo
Great original Bluegrass Songs and Instrumentals. We are delighted to play Niall Toner anytime.
Brian McNeal Prescription Bluegrass
Niall makes great open-hearted music and his tributes to Bill Monroe and Jimmie Rodgers are just superb. His 'Ocean of Teardrops', composed in-the-style-of The Blue Sky Boys and The Monroe Brothers,
is a duet song that just kills me.
Paul Williams Songwriter & President of ASCAP